DR RADICA MAHASE
Last week, the Ministry of Education announced 100 national scholarship winners. We at Support Autism T&T proudly celebrated with our youth volunteers who are scholarship recipients. This week I am happy to feature an article written by Emily Ramgoolam, the recipient of an additional scholarship for mathematics. Emily is 19 years old and works at the Trinidad Eye Hospital. She spends her weekends volunteering at Rahul’s Clubhouse, an autism centre in Gopaul Lands, Marabella, which is run by Support Autism T&T. Here is Emily’s article:
“My alma mater, Naparima Girls’ High School, has a strong connection with non-governmental organisations geared towards improving the quality of life at all levels of our society.
"My involvement with the NGHS Interact club exposed me to the excellent work done by Support Autism T&T and naturally, I gravitated towards becoming involved because of my desire to help others. I had an opportunity to be a part of this organisation and I joined the Support Autism T&T family in August 2021. I started virtually volunteering through the variety of online activities it offered, such as group projects with other volunteers to make videos, graphic designs and birthday cards for the children and attending youth volunteer training to raise awareness of all what this NGO represents.
"In 2022, I started physically volunteering through the VIP Kids Club and the STAR programme offered at Rahul’s Clubhouse. I made this decision as a learning initiative, to become more sensitised about autism. I wanted to stay persistent, positive and driven, all while giving back to my community through learning different ways to interact with autistic children.
"The experiences that this NGO afforded me have been indescribable. I have learnt and continue to learn so much about different ways to interact with children on various ends of the spectrum; to promote their social engagement. For example, some children enjoy doing puzzles, playing with building blocks to construct castles and towers, while others may prefer to play a game of football or hide and seek. Interacting with the children has been the highlight of my time here. We sing songs, do art and crafts and spend time in the sensory room, when things get a bit chaotic with all the fun we have together.
"On my first visit to Rahul’s Clubhouse, I was greeted by warm and welcoming people. I cherish being a part of the family that Support Autism T&T had created; the new friends and memories I’ve made thus far with both the children and other volunteers. I have become more outgoing, patient, understanding and I’ve learnt not to take things personally, if they may react differently to what I anticipated at times.
"I intend to start university in August to study medicine and realise my dream of becoming a medical doctor. I deem all of these qualities I gained from volunteering integral to becoming a successful medical practitioner. Interacting with autistic children is a very fulfilling experience and has strengthened my resolve to become a doctor and help others.
"To my peers, I want to say don’t compare yourself with anyone. Everyone has their own goals that they want to achieve and their own individual and unique path they need to take to get there. At times, things may become overwhelming but keep sight of your goals and take things one step at a time. Be prepared to put in the required work and give of your best in anything that you do.
"Volunteering is a very fulfilling experience and you should find an organisation that you are passionate about and makes you feel comfortable. The good that these experiences enable you to accomplish, is rewarding in itself. The experiences you make here and the skills you adopt are all beneficial to your life while simultaneously benefiting children and their families with varying levels of need.
"I hope to one day be an outlet to my patients and assuage their feeling of uncertainty. I wish to continue working out of altruism and use my talents to medically benefit people in every aspect of healthcare.
"I thank my family and friends for their continued love and support. I must mention my little sister Gianna and my friends who helped me stay motivated and driven throughout the pandemic and I owe this success to everyone who has helped me along the way.
"I would like to thank Support Autism T&T for giving me the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference with the children who the future of our society.”
Congratulations to Emily on her academic achievements. We are proud to have her as a youth volunteer at Rahul’s Clubhouse. Surely, TT is in good hands, when we have empathetic, strong committed and open-minded advocates like her.
Radica Mahase is the founder/director of Support Autism T&T